Perhaps one of the most revered leaders that ever lived is Mahatma Gandhi. His words have been quoted in some of the best leadership books. I most especially admire his ability to lead by example. He propagated the need to practice what you preach; One of my favorite statements of this great leader is “We must be the change we desire to see in the world”.
A particular story on his exemplary display of “Less preaching and more Leadership by example” will be the basis for today’s blog. In the 1930′s there was a young boy who had become addicted to and obsessed with eating sugar. His mother decided to get help and took the long and hot journey with her son walking many miles and hours under the scorching sun.
She finally reached Gandhi and asked him to tell her son to stop eating sugar; it wasn’t good for his health. Gandhi replied, “I cannot tell him that. But you may bring him back in a few weeks and then I will talk to him.” The mother was confused and upset and took the boy home.
Two weeks later she came back. This time Gandhi looked directly at the boy and said, “”Boy, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for your health.” The boy nodded his head and promised he wouldn’t. The boy’s mother was puzzled. She asked, “Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago when I brought him here to see you?” Gandhi smiled and said, “Mother, two weeks ago I was eating a lot of sugar myself.”
Too many people preach leadership but fail at living it. They do a great job talking about what needs to be done to make the world a better place but will do nothing about it. To leave a lasting impact and truly transform our country, company or the lives of people around us we must seek to always lead and when necessary preach it. As we desire to change the world in one shape or form, the question is “are we ready to lead by example?”
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